Nonwoven materials are used worldwide in a variety of applications, including construction, apparel, hygiene products, wet wipes, medical dressings, automotive end uses, geotextiles, home furnishings and filtration.
The combined global market value for nonwovens reached approximately $26 billion in 2012. Nonwoven media used in filtration applications make up about 14% of the total nonwovens market, or a value of nearly $3.5 billion in 2012. By year-end 2013, the market is forecast to be worth $3.7 billion. This figure includes nonwoven filter media manufactured by five types of production: airlaid, wetlaid, spunbonding, meltblowing and apertured film extrusion processes, and for several different applications in air, gas and liquid filtration. End uses for nonwoven filter media are water filtration; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications; liquid, air and gas filtration in transportation; food and beverage processing; manufacturing; healthcare; petroleum processing; and air, gas and liquid filtration for the high-technology industry.
Although the markets for each sector and world region are affected by different driving forces, some common drivers cut across all applications and regions. The most important factor affecting market growth is the need for cleaner products and processes as mandated by legislative standards. Consumer desire for purer water, air and other goods is another strong force that drives growth.
Shifting patterns of economic prosperity also influence the nonwoven filter media market at industrial, municipal and consumer levels. While North America and Western Europe still make up half of the nonwoven filter media market, the rapid industrialization and rising incomes of China, India and other Asian countries are driving the global market the most rapidly. Emerging markets in the rest of the world, the growing economies of Brazil, some Eastern European countries and the oil-rich nations of the Middle East also are helping to boost world markets for nonwoven filter media.
By application, nonwovens for transportation applications, a category that includes off-road vehicles used in mining, agriculture and construction, as well as aircraft, is the largest market. Media used in these applications include materials for both air and liquid filtration. Resurgence in vehicle sales in the North American market and rising car ownership in emerging countries are major market drivers. Increasingly strict environmental standards also are important.
Water filtration is the largest sector, and still offers many opportunities for market growth. The use of filter media as membrane support material is an especially vibrant application in this segment since world markets for membrane-based desalination, wastewater treatment and water recycling are increasing quickly.
Despite some false starts and ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties, global manufacturing industries are optimistic that renewed growth in the sector is imminent. In this sector, the strongest growth for nonwoven filter media is forecast for the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan. New power plants in the region, particularly in China, also will be an important market for nonwovens used in air filtration, as will air (and other) filters for the region’s growing number of automobiles.
In the United States, capital investments in equipment delayed during the financial downturn should be a large future market for nonwoven filter media in liquid filtration applications. “Reshoring” also could play a role in manufacturing industry growth, as producers of electrical equipment, appliances and components, transportation equipment and machinery bring work back to the United States.
Nonwoven filter sales in the pharmaceutical manufacturing segment are expected to see especially rapid growth across most world regions; purchases of filters in the HVAC sector also are rising worldwide, although at not quite as high a rate. Another good growth market is in the filtration of waste streams from oil and gas production.
Because filters based on nonwovens are exchanged after a useful service life, sales of nonwovens for incorporation in replacement products make up a major portion of the market. This feature is a factor in the consumer, commercial and industrial market sectors.
BCC Research estimates market size estimates and forecasts for global nonwoven filter media from 2005 through 2018. A 7.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is forecast for nonwoven filter media over the next five years, resulting in a $5.3 billion market value in 2018. The ability of world economies to navigate the potential financial pitfalls, the ability of manufacturers to leverage their capital asset bases, continued technological innovation, and new environmental and regulatory initiatives are factors affecting forecast growth.
Nonwoven Filter Media: Technologies and Global Markets (AVM043D) will help its readers form a comprehensive understanding of the recent advances in nonwoven filter media manufacturing, its commercial applications, and worldwide markets. For the purposes of this report, the materials will include filter media manufactured by airlaid, wetlaid, spunbonding, meltblowing and apertured films extrusion.